Nasdaq eyes fifth straight daily advance
U.S. stocks rose moderately Thursday, pushing major benchmarks into record territory, following dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen in two days of testimony on Capitol Hill.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22 points, or 0.1%, to 21,555. The blue-chip average ended at a record on Wednesday and is on track to extend its climb to all-time highs. The S&P 500 index gained 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,446. The Nasdaq Composite Index flitted in and out of positive territory to most recently trade up 2 points to 6,263.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track for their second straight daily gain, while the Nasdaq is up for a fifth straight session--its longest streak in about six weeks.
Read:The stock market may not be able to defy gravity for much longer (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-stock-market-may-not-be-able-to-defy-gravity-for-much-longer-2017-07-12)
"The risk appetite is back in force after Janet Yellen hinted that the cost of borrowing could increase slower than previously thought at the first day of her semiannual testimony in front of the Congress," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, in a note.
Yellen testified on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee where she indicated that federal-funds rate wouldn't need to rise significantly to "get to a neutral policy stance," reiterating her view from the previous day.
See:Live blog and video of Yellen's testimony (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-traders-wait-for-yellen-2017-07-12)
On Wednesday, speaking in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen emphasized that the central bank's gradual approach to tightening policy and said interest rates don't have to rise all that much further.
That Wednesday testimony--interpreted as dovish by investors--helped to set in motion a firm advance for U.S. stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-traders-wait-for-yellen-2017-07-12) and gave the Dow its first closing record in nearly a month.
Some investors pocketed profits in response to the strong gains in the previous session but the market is relatively quiet, according to Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management.
Nolte also believes the central bank is not dramatically more dovish than it had been in recent weeks.
"We've maintained since the June rate hike that there won't be further hikes due to economic data which have not been all that strong," he said.
In other Fed news, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan, in an essay (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dallas-feds-kaplan-becomes-third-fomc-member-to-question-need-for-more-rate-hikes-2017-07-13), said he wants to see further evidence of a recovery in inflation before considering another rate increase.
Economic docket: First-time jobless claims fell by 3,000 in the latest week, reflecting an extremely low level of layoffs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-drop-3000-to-247000-2017-07-13) that has become the norm as an economic recovery stretches into its ninth year.
Separately, producer prices rose 0.1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-inflation-up-slightly-in-june-but-no-longer-rising-rapidly-ppi-shows-2017-07-13), about even with expectations.
See MarketWatch's Economic Calendar. (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)
Oil blues: Oil prices recovered from an earlier drop in response to the International Energy Agency data that showed global oil supply in June rose by 720,000 barrels (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/iea-raises-oil-demand-forecast-says-output-increased-in-june-2017-07-13) to 97.46 million a day, boosted by both higher production from OPEC and non-OPEC producers such as the U.S.
Stock movers: In a rare bit of good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, Target Corp. (TGT) said it now expects a surprise "modest increase" in same-store sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/targets-stock-jumps-after-raising-sales-profit-outlook-2017-07-13) for the fiscal second quarter, citing improved traffic and sales trends. The stock climbed more than 5%.
Shares of Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) dropped 2% after surging to a record close on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nvidias-stock-jumps-to-6th-straight-gain-after-suntrust-upgrade-2017-07-12) on the back of an upgrade at SunTrust.
Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) reported second-quarter earnings that missed expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/delta-profit-misses-estimates-but-revenue-rises-2017-07-13), although revenue rose. Shares fell 2.1%.
Snap Inc. (SNAP) surged 3.2% after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snaps-stock-surges-after-stifel-turns-bullish-as-selloff-as-created-a-compelling-opportunity-2017-07-13), saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a "compelling" opportunity.
U.S.-listed shares of Novartis AG(NOVN.EB) fell 0.9% despite a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel late Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency approve one of its cancer drugs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/novartis-gets-fda-panel-recommendation-for-leukemia-drug-approval-2017-07-12).
NRG Energy Inc.(NRG) jumped 7.8%, extending its climb on Wednesday, which was its best-ever one-day percentage gain (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nrg-energys-stock-rockets-to-biggest-ever-one-day-gain-2017-07-12).
Tiffany & Co. (TIF) rose 2.1% after it named Alessandro Bogliolo as its new chief executive (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tiffany-names-diesel-head-alessandro-bogliolo-ceo-2017-07-13-6915717), effective Oct. 2.
Other markets: Asian stocks closed mostly higher, while European equities (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-rise-again-building-on-largest-advance-in-212-months-2017-07-13) added to their Yellen-fueled gains.
Most metals fell with gold slipping to trade below $1,220 an ounce while the ICE Dollar Index was mostly unchanged.
--Sara Sjolin contributed to this article.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 13, 2017 14:20 ET (18:20 GMT)